As if none of these elements were horrifying enough on their own, the story I'm about to tell you features a veritable trifecta of teenage dysfunction: Teen pregnancy? Check. Bullying? Check. Violent crime? Yep. Oh wait, there's even a fourth nugget of terror! I forgot about the alleged police brutality.
Oh yes, it's just another heartwarming tale about the lives of teens today. So heartwarming, in fact, that it made me change my mind about something pretty major. But I'll get to that in a minute.
Anyway, 17-year-old Clerissa Loucks of the Bronx was arrested last week for spraying two girls who were allegedly bullies in the faces with pepper spray. But just wait until you hear who gave Clerissa the Mace!
Clerissa's mom, of course, Tracy Morales (who was arrested along with her daughter). But Morales insists she'd do the same thing if she had to do it over again: Clerissa is 4 months pregnant and she needed some way to defend herself against the relentless bullies. Although, as it turned out, Clerissa claims the NYPD wasn't much better. She says they slammed her down on the ground face-down and sat on her, and showed off her bruises for TV cameras.
Oh god, my head hurts. Do you have a headache yet?
My first instinct, when I read this story, was to side with Morales. Or at least to sympathize with her as a mom: Her kid was being threatened; she was worried about her safety and figured the risk of getting caught with Mace wasn't as bad as the risk of getting beaten to a pulp.
But then I thought about it some more.
And possibly because this story makes me want to go hide in a dark closet until my kids are 30, I had a change of heart. I've always said I would never, ever want to homeschool my kids -- benefits of social interaction, broader horizons, etc.
But if my daughter was in a situation like this one? Knocked up and struggling to make it through a world of everyday violence?
I think I'd just pull her out of school. Simple as that. And if transferring to another school was impossible, I'd figure out a way to homeschool her myself.
I mean, enough already. The bullying thing is getting out of control, the teen pregnancy thing is a joke. Somebody press the reset button, or I'm not going to play at all.
And neither are my kids.
What would you do if Clerissa was your kid?
Image via Eddie S/Flickr